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Germany's Merkel ‘Not Distancing Herself From Armenian Genocide Resolution’


Germany -- Lawmakers vote to recognise the Armenian genocide after a debate during the 173rd sitting of the Bundestag, the German lower house of parliament, in Berlin, June 2, 2016

Germany -- Lawmakers vote to recognise the Armenian genocide after a debate during the 173rd sitting of the Bundestag, the German lower house of parliament, in Berlin, June 2, 2016

(Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the parliamentary leader of her conservative party that she is not distancing herself from a Bundestag resolution on the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces that has strained ties with Turkey, according to sources briefed on the matter.

Volker Kauder, the head of the Christian Democrats in parliament, told a meeting of party members that he had spoken with Merkel and she emphasized her position, said the sources, who attended the meeting.

Kauder said Merkel also noted that she had voted to support the resolution recognizing the massacre as genocide during a party meeting before the vote, although she was not present when the vote took place in June. Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier were also not present, the sources said.

Ankara banned German lawmakers from visiting 250 German soldiers stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey in response to the Bundestag resolution. German officials have said the resolution is not legally binding and that the lawmakers must be allowed to visit the base.

Matthias Schaefer, spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry, said Turkish and German officials remained in talks about the issue. He said it remained to be seen how Turkish officials responded to requests from lawmakers to travel to Incirlik in October.

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